Employee Engagement in Manufacturing: 9 Ways To Improve

People employee engagement in manufacturing

Maintaining employee engagement is vital for any company’s success. So, it comes as a shock that the manufacturing industry only has 25% of its workers engaged

2020 didn’t do the manufacturing industry any favors, it only contributed to the lack of engagement. Once the pandemic was in full swing, everything went out the window. Communicating became chaotic, as shifts were constantly changing due to the strict rules. Employees were left waiting by the phones to know if they still had a job or for further updates. Employee engagement in manufacturing became an all-time low.  

Once the coronavirus restrictions eased and people went back to work, employees wanted that feeling of safety. However, old-school communication such as calls, texts, and emails, as well as stacks of manual paperwork, make this unattainable. It simply doesn’t work in the new decentralized reality!

As the pandemic hit, safety protocols dramatically changed overnight. With such low employee engagement in manufacturing, the pandemic only heightened the existing issues. Low engagement could cause employees to unwillingly break safety protocols, increasing the risk of incidents to themselves and those around them. Due to that fact, businesses are searching for ways of how to engage manufacturing employees.

Managers know that they need to act quickly to increase engagement levels, especially in such trying times. Many have recognized the importance of digital communication, and are switching from texts and calls to modern employee communication apps, such as Connecteam. With deskless employees always on the move, it’s easy to keep in touch on the go, and you can be updated in real-time.

Benefits of Digitizing

Employee engagement in manufacturing is difficult unless you employ the correct modern tools. Most employees who work in an office have access to emails, newsletters, etc. However, field employees often don’t have access to corporate emails, intranet, and physical meetings may not even happen. Therefore, employees feel left out and disengaged. 

Connecteam manufacturing engagement

You might ask, what can digitizing my business do for me? These are just a few examples of what moving into the modern era can do for your workplace. 

Safety-first: Know in real-time as the accidents happen. With pen and paper, employees have to wait for their manager to answer the phone, or text back. This causes ample amounts of stress as it’s not a reliable source of communication. With Connecteam, your employee fills out the report right from the field, and in less than two minutes, the information is in the right hands. Digital reporting saves so much time, improves efficiency, and takes your safety to new levels

Communication: Your business almost feels like two separate entities, your in-house workers and your field workers. Safety protocols may need updating after a particular accident, and then you have to gather all your employees for a meeting. You either end up calling or sending mass texts to inform your workers of potential weather conditions and hazards. Communicating via text is inefficient as you can’t track who has read your message. Instead of working, you are playing a game of cat and mouse. Digitizing your communication allows you to send messages company-wide, letting the team know about the accident that happened. This prevents other employees from being exposed to the same hazards. 

Onboarding: Onboarding for new employees and managers becomes rather stressful, and it takes hours to get through all the materials. Then you have to keep track of who attended training and who didn’t. However, with Connecteam, you upload all the training manuals, employee handbooks, and more straight into the app. Especially during the current times, it’s expensive to rent out halls while adhering to social distancing rules. With an app, your employee onboards from a safe space. Employee engagement in manufacturing doesn’t need to be complex. With Connecteam, all the training materials relevant to their particular role are on the app, and you can track their progress. To integrate your staff into their team, you could snap a picture of the new employee and use the updates feature to let everyone know about the new hire. 

Job Scheduling: Creating schedules can be inaccurate, time-consuming, and nerve-wracking when you don’t even have the most up-to-date information. Connecteam allows managers to upload and even schedule weeks in advance. All employees have the ability to input their days off on the app, another employee engagement idea for the manufacturing industry. 

Upper Management: With so many different departments, you may be tracking progress on programs such as Excel. With digital communication in a click of a button the CEO can check every department, and monitor how every employee is progressing. 

Better Engagement: To increase employee engagement in manufacturing, you should be leaning towards rewarding employees for outstanding work. Letting the entire company know the employee of the month may be a difficult task. With Connecteam, you can send an update with a picture, and everyone can comment and like. Engagement levels will increase and gels your team together. Other announcements are possible through the app, such as a happy hour. 

Now you’re ready to move to the digital era with a leading employee management app to better enhance employee engagement and countless other operational efficiencies. But if you’re not quite ready, below we list 9 tips on how to boost employee engagement in the industry. Just tweak the tips to fit your current engagement methods like email.

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1. Create a Safe Environment

Safety is an aspect of your business that you are always trying to improve. Ensuring that your staff has a safe environment is a top priority. Therefore, employee engagement in manufacturing is closely linked to safety, as without the right tools to report incidents, you can’t ensure a safe workspace. Employees should never feel at fault for reporting an unintentional accident. If anything, you should reward employees for coming forward. The reward could be a shoutout or a gift, encouraging employee engagement in manufacturing. 

Once the hazard has been documented and fixed, spreading the message company-wide requires a lot of time, especially if you’re still using paper and pen. Digital communication allows you to send messages company-wide in seconds. Relevant teams should receive newsletters advising them of the latest safety protocols to ensure incidents from last month won’t happen again.

More importantly, digital reporting takes your safety to the next level. You are no longer waiting around for sheets of paper to come back to you. Paper reports and checklists often take hours, if not days, and you are out of the loop with a real danger that could be at hand. Connecteam helps you speed up reports in just a few minutes. Your employee will fill out the digital checklist when they arrive. Your employee opens all the safety protocols, which include pictures, texts of what to do when a situation occurs. They then fill out the report, whether they are on the road, in the warehouse, and the results are sent instantly to the relevant supervisor, it’s that easy!

Let’s break that down a little further:

  • Fast and on the go reporting – all employees fill out a new report from the site, road, warehouse, and all in real-time. The information is automatically sent instantly to the safety manager. Everything is shareable, fast, and is delivered right to their app. 
  • Digital library – All safety information, manuals, and protocols are readily available from the app. In one click, you have everything. 
  • Safety training on the job – Managers see employees progress and the employees may return to the manuals anywhere, anytime – add regulations per country. 
  • On the go updates – With the current pandemic, and work-life is changing daily. A quick update allows all your employees to know what to expect before their shift begins.
  • Status for hazards: Updates as they happen in real-time. For example, the electricity cable was fixed, the safety manager then sends an update company-wide. Safety managers update the whole team and then send a direct message to those who didn’t respond. This is to make sure the relevant people read the update. 
  • Daily checklist – Ask for Incident reports, vehicle accident reports, safety inspection forms (for supervisors), driver checklists for loading and unloading procedures, etc. All forms are automated, sent to a preset email address in pdf format, or even export to an excel spreadsheet. We leave that choice to you! 
  • Read and sign forms – Your employee has the ability to sign on the app, or if it’s a delivery, the other party signs the form. You are updated as the transaction happens.
  • Making SOPs and Company protocols available Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), Safety and emergency protocols, Employee handbook, Code of ethics, Sexual harassment policy, and Uniform policy. 
  • Newsletters – Newsletters sent via the app can be tracked to see who’s read it. Tracking allows you to be up to date with who knows the latest safety aspects.

Connecteam tip: Keep your staff updated at all times, with our live updates. Snap a photo and everyone will be aware of the latest hazard. Use forms and checklists to ensure safety before the job has even started. 

 

2. Appreciate Your Employees

When people go to work, they are often looking past the paycheck. Your employee wants to feel that they make a difference. If they know their input counts, they will give back more. Hence, a little encouragement goes a long way in helping them achieve their best. Also, rewarding their efforts keeps employees motivated. 

Being happy at work is essential when you complete more than 40 hours per week in a labor-intensive job. Therefore, listening to your employees shows empathy and care. When your employees feel appreciated, it’s one way of how to engage manufacturing employees. 

Safety employee engagement in manufacturing

Photo by Anamul Rezwan from Pexels

According to Towers Perrin’s research, if you nail employee engagement in manufacturing, your profit margins could increase by 6%. Remember to mention your employee’s accomplishments, as this could help your bottom line. People want to feel that their contribution to the team is appreciated. 

For your team to perform to their best potential, you need to ensure that the company culture is positive. Encourage employee engagement in manufacturing by creating social events or happy hour. Social events encourage engagement in manufacturing as employees get to know each other. So, when they have to work on tasks, they are not just talking with a voice, but they know the person. This encourages collaboration and productivity

Connecteam tip: You could introduce employee of the month. Snap a picture and send it as an update on the app. Send videos of employees who have figured out how to complete tasks quicker and more efficiently. With likes and comments, the employee will feel proud of what they have achieved. Adding a survey and digital suggestion box might help you gain inside information into what will make your staff happier. 

 

3. Reward Milestones

If you are wondering how to engage manufacturing employees, you need to ensure that employees know the company goals. By doing so, there is a target for them to reach. Explain how their role and their performance directly impact the company as a whole. Frequent meetings and setting goals are key to employee engagement activities in manufacturing companies. 

Celebrating professional breakthroughs is another way to increase employee engagement in manufacturing. By doing so, you encourage employees to put their best foot forward. Workers will arrive at work motivated and ready to go, as they know their efforts make a difference.

Harvard Business Review found that 71% of the people interviewed agreed that employee engagement is the key to success as a company. Managers should tailor their rewards to each employee. By doing so, it creates a relationship between you and your employees. Once your employees feel connected to the company, they are less likely to leave.

Renowned companies reward their employees, a strategic move to keep employee engagement in manufacturing high. Focusing on the good and the positive aspects of an employee increases positivity and even profitsHolding employee of the month meetings allows everyone to engage and celebrate the winner. Weekly meetings also help establish the goals reached and the ones in progress. You could announce which department smashed their targets this month. Honoring wins encourages team spirit, that’s another way of how to engage manufacturing employees. 

When you go the extra mile, and you support your employees’, engagement in manufacturing will increase. Workers will feel a connection for their workplace, and you will improve the following:

  • Promote a connected team
  • Retain hard-working employees
  • Improve the end result – customer satisfaction
  • Encourage motivation and increase employee engagement.
  • Attract skilled people

Connecteam tip: Use the updates feature to announce the latest goals smashed. With the like and comments feature, your goals will become interactive. Send messages company-wide with the Zoom meeting details so everyone joins in. Record an employee completing a challenge and send it company-wide to show new ways for finishing tasks. Additionally, send a personal message to the individual employee via the chat feature to congratulate their success. 

 

4. Job Scheduling with Flexibility

For most companies, scheduling creates a lot of stress as managers try to work out which shifts are suitable for the task. Job scheduling manually can cause loss of hours, and 54% said that “technology would make the company more productive.”

Job scheduling begins before you have even set the times and jobs. You need to plan and prioritize which tasks should be first. With manual scheduling, employee engagement in manufacturing decreases because workers feel there is no flexibility. If your schedule doesn’t accommodate employee’s needs, it could result in workers demotivated and a lack of employee engagement in manufacturing. Employees will receive their hours. However, once they arrive to work, they have no clue how to complete their job. Employees need to feel that their work share is fair and just. 

With digital scheduling such as Connecteam, you may add notes directly into the schedule informing the employee of everything needed to complete the job. Digital scheduling means that the whole team views the schedule in real-time there are no surprises. Employees input their days off, sick days, etc. Line managers will know where employees will be ahead of time. 

Connecteam tip: You may schedule weeks in advance, allow employees to switch shifts, and you have the total amount of hours. This allows you to know how the week or month will look like. Moreover, add notes to each shift, so that employees are prepared beforehand.

 

5. Approachable Human Resources

Human resources shouldn’t be separate from the rest of the company. HR has an important role to play in employee engagement in manufacturing. HR could be the difference between an employee staying or leaving for your competitor. Employees need to be aware that there are new positions available, chances for promotions, or the possibility of referring a friend. Referring to a friend is an employee engagement idea for the manufacturing industry. When employees are happy, they will want their friends also to work there.

When HR is there only for onboarding, employees are unaware of the company benefits, training, or other ways that enhance their career. Once you make the shift and employees know that they are valued, there is a sense of loyalty. Knowing that there is a chance to move up within the company, their level of engagement increases. 

By being digitized you can provide all the company rules, policies, and benefits inside an app. You could notify employees of new openings, and suggest the candidates you think are relevant. Your employees access it from anywhere, from any mobile device, and at any time. 

Connecteam tip: Use the workflow to set up media libraries with training. Advise employees about job openings, refer a friend program. 

 

6. Smooth Onboarding Experience

Onboarding goes further than the new hire signing a contract, and off they go to work. 17% of employees leave within the first 90 days of employment due to poor onboarding. Your new hire needs to be excited about their new role before they begin. Sending a little welcome gift makes them feel comfortable and ready for their new role. 

Digitizing onboarding makes the transition into their new role with no trouble. Onboarding should be as plain-sailing as possible so that your new hire starts working. Connecteam makes your new employee feel welcome from their first day on the job. You can send an update with their picture and a few facts so that other employees will have something to talk about even before they arrive. With the in-app chat, employees might send the new employee messages making them feel welcome and less nervous. 

Onboarding from an app saves you time completing repetitive tasks. 

employee directory app onboarding

With manual training, you have to spend hours showing each employee how to use machinery, which is achievable in far less time with videos, PDFs, texts, and more through an app. Managers watch from the sidelines while your new hire excels. Managers track the progress without having to be there in person. The best part is that employees have the information on them at all times. If they get stuck, they refer back to the training materials as all the information is accessible from their mobile device. 

Upload your company policies, including information about how the company started, rules, and responsibility. The app entices employee engagement in manufacturing and saves you money on printing out copies of all the documents. The information is always up to date, every time. You won’t need to check if your employee has the latest copy because it’s all digital. 

Should the employee forget to supply bank details for their wage, the app has mandatory fields you set that require filling out. You can prevent employees from leaving by setting up a form or survey. The data provided will let you know how the new employee is getting on with the onboarding. If they are missing any tools or they require further assistance. 

Connecteam tip: Connecteam, set up smart groups within the app. For new employees, this is useful as it will help them navigate their way through the company. In addition, it’s less embarrassing as they discuss the issues between themselves. With the company directory, searching for any employee is easy, by name, department, and several other filters. Managers also could share useful contacts directly through the app. 

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7. Addressing Challenges

Low employee engagement in manufacturing happens when workers feel their voice isn’t heard. That in itself demotivates workers, and there is no desire left to do their job at full capacity. Lack of communication is another contributing factor. You have to consider that everyone needs to be on the same page. With one platform or system put in place, it saves workers from feeling left out.

When you add Covid-19 into the mix, raising employee engagement in manufacturing becomes harder. Research shows that 8/10 employees trust their company over the government with safety rules. It’s more important than ever that manufacturing managers get the communication right. It’s hard to ensure that all the employees are equipped with the correct safety rules when they change daily. Managers may find themselves printing out new pages constantly advising the updated covid rules. 

However, with Connecteam, you change the chaos into an organized solution. Connecteam stores all your knowledge in one place, and you overcome any challenges. Send new training courses, updates company-wide, PDFs, and any other information within the app. 

 

8. Open Lines of Communication

Managers should ensure that they are approachable. By implementing open lines of communication, employee engagement in manufacturing will be higher, as employees will feel there is somewhere to turn. 

Communication in the workplace needs to be nurtured over time. You can begin by asking your employees how they are and how their weekend was. By making yourself more approachable, you can achieve company goals faster and even create loyalty. Employee engagement in manufacturing will rise with effective communication.

employee communication app chat

With Connecteam, you introduce open lines of communication and bring your team together. The app has a directory, which you search by name, department, or other measures and begin chatting. Connecteam has the ability to open smart groups, meaning you put workers into categories and have them message each other. You can also send your smart groups content which is relevant for them, as opposed to the whole company. Once employees begin talking to each other, you take your engagement to the next level. 

Managers also have the option to send direct messages to their employees to congratulate them on their performance. Rewarding employees and encouraging them will keep them more engaged and less likely to leave. 

Connecteam tip: Use the chat feature and create smart groups for company-wide engaging conversations. Keep your employees in the loop by updating them with the latest safety protocols. 

 

9. Create a Career Plan for Employees

When employees come to work for you, they usually want to grow in their role and move up within the organization. With having goals and targets to reach set by their managers, it’s very achievable. Employees require positive and encouraging feedback for them to stay motivated. 

You can set weekly, monthly, yearly goals so that your employees have a new role they are aiming toward. Career development increases employee engagement in manufacturing and reduces the number of people leaving. Engagement problems could derive from workers not having the equipment to be ready for their role. 

Managers need to convey new updates and safety procedures to their teams. Managers should try different methods to find the best way to mentor their staff. Digitizing a career path is the easiest way of how to engage manufacturing employees. This is because you add tutorials, videos, pictures, and processes online. 

For your company to keep employee engagement in manufacturing, you have to begin with your onboarding process. You have to dig deep and decide if you are employing the right people. In addition, are they being treated fairly, do they have a fair workload, and so on. Once you have analyzed all the above, and you consider that digitizing could simplify many tasks and retain staff for the long haul. 

Connecteam tip: By managers communicating with their employees regularly, it keeps engagement levels up. Additionally, managers can set the career path within the company. With Connecteam, managers can add training into the employee’s digital media and help them achieve their career goals. 

 

Keep Your Employees Engaged for the Long Haul

Employee engagement in manufacturing is achievable when you want to help your employees live their best life, and encourage progression. Businesses will witness increased levels of employee engagement in manufacturing when managers put their best efforts for employees to have a good employee journey. 

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